Reclaiming the Creative Impulse • The 2022 Old Town Saginaw Art Fair

Posted In: Arts & Entertainment, Artist Feature, Culture, Community Profiles,   From Issue 932   By: Robert E Martin

14th July, 2022     0

Art is a line around your thoughts.
― Gustav Klimt

It is a true testament to the hard work of  organizers and volunteers dedicated  to reprising the legacy and reputation of the Old Town Saginaw Art Fair, who prior to the advent of the COVID pandemic managed to successfully organize the return of this celebrated endeavor back to the streets of Old Town Saginaw.

After successfully reprising the Old Town Art Fair back in 2018 and 2019 with increasing participating and attendance each successive year, the lockdown on large gatherings forced them to suspend the art fair in 2020 & 2021.

But now as the 2022 Old Town Saginaw Art Fair prepares to return to the streets on Friday & Saturday, August 5-6th, it decidedly proves that creativity and determination is not limited to the canvas when it comes to celebrating the divergent expressive talents that blossom throughout our region.

According to Chairwoman Lauren Collison, when art fair  returns to the 100 Block of South Hamilton along with Robert Maul Historic Parking Lot on Hamilton & Court Streets, the number of featured artists consist of approximately 35 remarkably talented artists presenting their work from a divergent array of media.

“We are feeling good about our number of artists coming back from a break due to the pandemic,” states Lauren. “Some of our artists are returning from 2019 and we also have some new talent as well.  Additionally, The Marshall Fredericks Sculpture Museum will be available at the Art Fair and there will be additional community organizations participating as well.”

The tradition of the Old Town Art Festival is legendary, dating back to 1965 and started by a core group of respected local artists and business owners that included the late Samuel Carter, who contributed illustrations to the definitive history book about the Saginaw Valley known as Indians, Jacks & Pines, along with Tom & Mary Ellen Whitney, who owned and operated Ardern & Whitney Flowers (currently the location of The Old Town Distillery) for decades.

Until the festival’s untimely demise in the 2000s, it stood as the longest running art fair in the State of Michigan, pre-dating even the Ann Arbor Art Fair; and at its zenith in 1995 that marked the 50th anniversary of the festival, it covered five blocks and featured over 100 exhibitors displaying and selling their original high-quality artwork.

“There will be photography, sculpture, printmaking, painting, ceramics, 2D Art mixed media, jewelry, fiber art, and wood artists - for nine different categories for artists,” states Collison. “Plus we will be featuring free art classes again this year for people wishing to explore their skills and learn the basics of artistic expression.  We are planning on featuring tie dye, painting classes, and a poured painting class.”

Times for the Art Fair will range from 11 AM to 6:30 PM on Friday, Aug. 5th to 10 AM to 6 PM on Saturday, Aug. 6th.

As the Old Town Saginaw Art Fair has witnessed substantial growth for its second year prior to its two-year absence, what are the biggest challenges involved with reprising the festival for this year?

“The biggest challenge is probably time,” reflects Collison. “It takes a lot of time and coordination to kick an event of this nature back into gear.  We want the Great Lakes Bay Region and everyone around it to know about this festival.”

“We also wish to thank our major sponsors, which include a grant from the Saginaw Downtown Development Authority, UA Local 85, and the Old Town Business Association.”

Here is a sampling and a closer look at some of the artists that will be on display at the 2022  Annual Old Town Saginaw Art Fair:

Daniel Fager-George • 2D Art Mixed Media • Boca Raton, Florida

This artist re-purposes and reuses vintage pages, matching the words that appear on the paper to each piece that he creates.  After a page is identified he then uses a combination of charcoal, chalk, graphic pens, acrylic pens, colored pencils, dictionary pages, sheet music, atlas pages, and encyclopedia pages to create truly novel and original works, prints, triptychs, and wearable art.

Rob Esposito • 3D Sculpture/WoodEnglewood, Michigan

Robert creates quality acrylic paintings of comic and cartoon characters and sports logos, capturing the scale and authenticity of the originals. He works from multiple references which allow him to accurately depict the subjects. Some of his replicas include pieces reminiscent of the Pop Art movement, Marvel, DC, and sports team logos among other various genres. He takes requests for private and public commissions.

Robert has had a varied career working in the private, non-profit, and public sectors. He currently teaches 4th Grade at Handley Elementary School when he isn’t painting at his home studio or recording music for his band, Appeal to Reason.

In 2017 he was nominated Teacher of the Year, and he has been featured on Classroom Close Up on PBS. He is a member of the National Art Education Association (NAEA), Art Educators of New Jersey (AENJ), and American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP). Robert’s works hang in private collections around the country.

Robert Rokita • Ceramic • Saginaw, Michigan

This local artist creates colorful, unique, handmade, wheel thrown stoneware pottery out of his Saginaw Studio that make for unique additions for your dinner table.

Cindy Swan-Eagan • Jewelry • Manistee, Michigan

This former public school music teacher for 36+years also creates original jewelry that one of her former students describes as “a little rustic, yet a little refined.” Each of her artful, one-of-a-kin creations are not fussy, but are as fun as they are easy to wear.

“I like to reveal the magical interplay between metal and stone, which is like conducting a symphony where we add light, shadow, color, space, and a little fire into the mix,” she explains.

She is a member of the Michigan Silversmith's Guild, a Rio Pro Jeweler, and was the winner of the Jewelry Category at the Saginaw Old Town Art Festival 2019.

You can also check out her work at: www.artstygoods.com

Linda Chamberlain • PaintingBay City, Michigan

Chamberlain’s original paintings reflect and explore the relationship between man and his natural environment. She often uses tactile found objects in her work including wire, letterpress type and antique numbers. You’ll also find the appearance of birds, the moon tree, and in her latest pieces, a bear by the name of Bob.

 

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